Saturday, 1 August 2009

I think I live in the 1950s

Just to return, ever so briefly, to the little girl down the road who came to play.

Yesterday her mum and dad got married.

No mention of it on Tuesday when they brought the five year old to play. I found out when I walked past their house yesterday and saw the 'Just Married' signs. I was talking to another neighbour today who confirmed that they had got married yesterday. Five years after their little girl was born.

I had assumed, in my old-fashioned, 1950s world that I live in, that because they had two children, and they were together, that they were already married.

Sometimes I'm so naiive.

Do I have out-dated values?

Is it old-fashioned of me to expect people to make a commitment to each other before they commit to having children?

17 comments:

Moannie said...

I am constantly being told by my children as they look kindly down at me, almost, I feel, wanting to pat me on the head with a 'there there', that I don't live in the real world. Fads, fashions, cultures and Mores change at a rate of knots and we, I, cannot keep up with what is in and what is out.Couples meet, have a couple of dates and then couple...if they still like each other and it is more convenient they will move in together, if it work fine if not, doesn't matter...no bones broken, a bit of heart ache and move on to the next. Nowadays there is no shame in a girl getting pregnant before marriage, or even no marriage.
Am I Old fashioned, are you? Well I am...one of my friends had to move away to have her child and came back wih said child and a wedding ring and that satisfied the scandal mongers, it was the times we lived in. You are at least half my age, but have standards as morals you wish to live up to...not that old fashioned and moralistic need to be seen as bad things...some higher standards today would not be a bad thing.

I comfort myself by knowing that everything comes around , and self respect is due again.

Coding Mamma (Tasha) said...

Well, I think it's perfectly possible to make a commitment to someone without marrying them, to be honest. As it turned out, we had Rosemary after we were married, but we lost two babies before then, one only a month and a half before our wedding, so could easily and happily have become parents without being married.

I don't think having a wedding ring, or a piece of paper makes a blind bit of difference to how good a parent you can be. There are plenty of awful parents who happen to be married and plenty of fantastic parents, married, living together and committed to each other for a long time, single, divorced, single-sex... whatever.

We bought our house together, before we were married, as did many of our friends. That's a pretty big commitment. And we lived together for seven years before getting married. We would still be together and happy whether or not we'd had a big day where we made it official. In fact, having a child together is a commitment in itself and to my mind a far bigger one than a marriage.

So, yes, in this day and age I think it's probably more unusual than usual to do it all in the traditional order of marriage, house, children.

Certainly don't think that the child's difficulties in playing imaginatively has anything to do with her parents only just getting married now.

Surprised and Excited Mum said...

As a single mum, who's baby wasn't planned perhaps I shouldn't comment.

So, instead of getting upset, I'll make light and say they were just growing their own bridesmaids...

Hospital Lab Tech said...

I read your post about the little girl coming to visit and felt mildly irritated at your judgements on other people's parenting (then felt more cross when reading people's comments), but this post really is taking the moral high ground too far.

It is no business of yours whatsoever whether these parents are or are not married. It bears no relation on their commitment to each other or to their children. Why can't you just be happy for them on their special day? What gives you the right to cast judgement? I'm not surprised they didn't tell you on Tuesday, if I'd been in their position I wouldn't have relished telling you either - because they will have sensed your disapproval of them and they really don't need negativity from you on their happy day.

Well done to them for choosing to marry for THIER sakes and not for the sake of their children. Good luck to them, I wish them every happiness.

(And in case you are wondering, my partner and I also chose to marry before having a child but this doesn't make us a better or worse family than if we were co-habiting).

amy said...

I had my first two children before I got married then had my other two after we got married.

We were living together and engaged when we got pregnant for the first time so we were practically there already lol!

I always wanted to marry my husband but we were more concentrated on raising the children than rushing to the alter. Although 3year ol was only 10weeks old when we got married (she was a wedding surprise lol!)

Strictly said...

Well, stuff happens. Look at me, supposedly a pillar of the community, Guiding leader and all that - I had one before marriage and one after. When we married, one of my mother's acquaintances asked how K liked her new daddy. Same as her old daddy, she replied. There was an assumption I was on marriage #2 - I'd prefer to be embarking a little late on #1 rather than kicking off #2.

Still, on the plus side, whenever we need to diffuse tension with K, we tell her we'll get her old daddy on her. Works every time, she even throws it back at us: "My old daddy would have let me."

Working Mum said...

I thought that post would set the cat among the pigeons!

A Modern Mother said...

I became good friends with a woman when I moved back to the UK. They had four kids! Two were similiar to my girls and they were in the same class. We had coffee together all the time. Then one day I mentioned her "hubby" and she told me they never got married! I felt both embarrased to assume and surprised. To each his own I guess. They are happy as clams.

Nicol said...

I think it's a wonderful thing when two people actually get married now days. I am very traditional in that way! We certainly live in a time that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers would be shocked to see.

I personally think that there is more commitment if people actually get married than if they only live together. One serious fight and they could easily split where if you're married I think you would be more inclined to work on it. I've never been in the living with someone non-married boat, but I do feel there is more commitment when you are married.

Working Mum said...

Thank you for all your comments. It's interesting to see the different takes on marriage before/after children.

Just to clarify; it was the aspect of being together and having children, but not getting married until later that I was surprised by.

All my friends, and I mean ALL, were married for a while before having children. It just seemed the norm to me; to commit to each other, spend time together and then enhance the marriage with children. Probably says more about my views on the institution of marriage itself than on the aspect of having children.

But more about marriage next week ......

PippaD said...

I think it is getting more and more common, the lady who lives next door to my Nan got married last year and nobody in the village knew until the Limo pulled up to pick her up!

I am old fashioned and always knew I would get married and have children and my sister always knew that she would have children but never thought she would marry and that is exactly what happened to us!

Kelloggsville said...

Marriage made me feel secure. Some how I felt different after I was married and ready to have children - then almost as soon as we did we split up!!!! I felt much happier and secure in my relationship after I'd married the second time too. It's a commitment beyond compare. I don't really understand people who are very committed in a partnership and have children and say they don't need to be married. Maybe they don't have my insecurities that seem to need the rubberstamp of commitment.

I think you can't box anybody off. People all do different things different ways and everybodys benchmark and moral markers seem to be different - isn't is a wonderful and varied world that makes it all so colourful and exciting!

scrappysue said...

it's quite common around here. a commitment's a commitment, with or without a marriage certificate. having said that, i'm a traditional girl too.

SandyCalico said...

Ooh, you have stirred up a hornets nest!
For me it was important for us to be married before we had children. We didn't even live together before we got married - how old fashioned is that?!
I know a lot of unmarried couples who have children and are great parents and very happy.
Each to his own I suppose.

Mrs OMG Pregnant said...

Oooh love the emotive subjects!

I planned to be married before I got pregnant, but alas, I got pregnant. So, we postponed the wedding and wont be getting married until August 2010.

Sometimes it just how it is.... I think a child is a bigger commitment than marriage, but I do kind of wish we had done it the 'proper' way round.

Working Mum said...

So it takes all sorts. I guess I am just old fashioned.

I, like Kelloggsville, felt secure and safe once married and I love being married. Like Nicol, I think it is a bigger commitment than just living together; I feel it is much harder to walk away from a husband than a boyfriend when the going gets tough. Marriage is a lot more than being next of kin or having unlimited insurability and all those other legal rights that married people have.

I do think children are a bigger commitment than being married in that it is important to provide a stable home life for them and there is NO backing out (you can't get divorced from your kids!). That's why husband bought me an eternity ring when daughter was born because, basically, for us, once we had a child there was no way we were going to let our marriage fail. Again, being married when having daughter meant a lot more than just husband having the right to apply for daughter's passport or take her for innoculations (which only children's fathers married to the mothers can do).

Please note the use of "I" because these are my values and thoughts and I know that other people feel differently (Hospital Lab Technician!). My post was about questioning my automatic assumption that couples with children are married, not an intolerance of it. It's a bit like being a Christian but understanding that others may follow a different religion.

Now, religion, there's an emotive subject ........

Reluctant Housewife said...

Well, to be honest, I think it is a bit old fashioned, yes. I don't think that marriage is necessary for a couple to be committed to each other.

Don't get me wrong. Marriage is nice and it meant a lot when I got married and I'm glad I did. But if I hadn't actually gone through the process I wouldn't be any less committed to Hubs.

I just read the comments and I just want to add that I think you handled the opposing opinions really well. xo